By Lemor Abrams

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A new committee promises to reduce the high number of African-American child deaths in local neighborhoods.

The effort follows a recent study claiming local African-American children are twice as likely to die as any other ethnicity.

Since her teenage son, a star football player, was killed on his way to a playoff game at Grant High School last year, Nicole Clavo has been to countless vigils for other African American children…supporting mothers caught in the trap of gang violence.

“I believe if we get into the home and learn if the parents are lacking some type of support system, in parental guidance… you automatically have built-in mentorship,” said Clavo.

Clavo is using her pain as a source of healing for others.

She’s one of many community leaders on a mission to lower child death rates, from homicide, sleep related injuries, or abuse.

The Sierra Health Foundation has helped form a special committee tasked with creating “support hubs” in local trouble spots; neighborhoods where African American children are reportedly dying at twice the rate as other ethnicities.

“A lot of us here have been on the front lines of feeling the pain, the trauma, and this right here is an awesome feeling… to be a part of a team of people that have decided we want to work together to save lives,” said Pastor Less Simmons of the South Sacramento Christian Center.

Pastor Less Simmons says his community, “Valley High,” has one of the highest rates of child deaths from homicide.

In Del Paso Heights, infant sleep-related deaths are to blame. And free cribs for underprivileged families could be one solution.

“We’re looking as a community to bring together a health network for those families,” said Ray Green of the Roberts Family Development Center.

Families in need getting much needed support from leaders on the front lines.


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